Thursday, August 4, 2011

Laundry Soap

Who loves the fresh scent of cleanliness without all the chemical yuckiness? I know I do. I started making my own laundry soap as a means to clean my son's diapers. Homemade laundry soap smells of what you put in it. It doesn't stink of chemical perfumes and who knows what's. Sometimes I add a couple drops of lavendar or tea tree essential oil to my fabric softener ball, that is filled with vinegar, to add some beautiful scent and also cleans my clothes that much more.

Here's the basic recipe for laundry soap, which of course I double/triple as needed. The recipe below washes around 20-30 loads:

1 bar unscented soap (I used homemade plain lard soap, but you can use any soap you prefer to use)
1 cup Washing Soda (this isn't the easiest to find. It's always located in the laundry soap isle, but I have only found it at one local store, Fred Meyers)
1/2 cup borax

Grate up the bar of soap

Add all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until everything is powdered finely.

To use I add 2 Tablespoons to a load. When I wash cloth diapers I add a handful (roughly 1/2 cup) of baking soda to help neutralize the smells and fill my downy fabric softener ball with vinegar (roughly 1-4/-1/2 cup). The baking soda and vinegar help to neutralize scents and keep the clothes smelling clean.

If you make your own laundry soap, please share your recipe. Shoot....if you make your own dishwasher soap, etc. please share because I'm looking to make as many things from scratch as I can.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunburn Relief

Summer is finally here in western Washington (I think....). The temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees everyday, the sun is out more than 1/2 of the day,the  heater hasn't been on for over a month, and the windows are cracked open all day and night. In the pacific NW that means it's summer, even if the rain joins us every couple days :) One thing that comes with summer no matter where you live is sunburns! I generally don't put sunblock on immediately when I go outside in order to give my body a chance to absorb some Vit. D, which is a serious deficient vitamin in the NW. Sometimes I remember to put some on after a while and sometimes I don't.

This last weekend my family and I went to an awesome hotrod show in Eatonville, WA, which by the way is a gorgeous cute little town at the base of Mt. Rainier. The sun was out and the hotrods shined. By 3pm I was feeling kind of crispy. Sure enough when I got home I was as red as a lobster.

Last summer I made a concoction with hopes to ease my sunburn pain and help heal burns quicker. I've heard that vinegar is good for helping soothe sunburns. I also know that St. Johns Wart and Lavendar are good for general burn relief (Note: if you ever get burned on the stove or by another means put some St. Johns Wart infused oil and Lavendar essential oil on the burn. The pain goes away and the St. Johns Wart prevents blistering). Both St. Johns Wart and Lavendar are starting to flower this time of year. St. Johns Wart is a "weed" around here and Lavendar grows in almost everyone's yard. Now is the time to make this for next year's sunburn relief. I've also read that St. Johns Wart is good for preventing sunburns (

Here's how I made my homemade sunburn relief spray:

  • Large glass jar
  • plastic lid*
*if you don't have a plastic lid then you will need wax paper to prevent the lid from rusting

  • Fresh St. Johns Wart flowers
  • Fresh Lavender flowers (preferably right before they bloom)
  • Apple cider vinegar
Gather as many flowers as you can to fill the glass jar (1/2 St. Johns Wart Flowers, 1/2 Lavendar flowers). Fill the jar with apple cider vinegar to the top. Let sit for minimum 6-8 weeks. Top off with vinegar if needed.

After 6-8 weeks strain herbs out of vinegar and place vinegar into a clean jar. You can either use the vinegar by pouring it into a spray bottle or putting some on a rag and rubbing in on the burn. I personally like spraying it on for ease of application. Either way let the vinegar dry on the skin and the sunburn will go away sooner then you think.

The sunburn that I got this last weekend (Sat.) is turning into a nice golden brown without peeling or any discomfort. I'm usually not an advocate for tanning in the slightest, but I must say it's kind of fun not being as white as a ghost after a burn.

Enjoy the summer and take care of your skin.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

The weather in WA is starting to get close to a summer like pattern. Clouds in the morning, sun breaks, and mid to upper 60's. It's very exciting. Time for burgers, macaroni salad, and fruit!

I've been making bread for the past few years, but during the past couple months I've been exclusively eating my homemade bread. I need to give kuddos to Penniless Parenting Blog, which is where I got the original recipe and have modified it according to my taste and am now making buns out of it! If you haven't been to Penniless Parenting blog yet, you should totally check it out. There is way to much useful information on there.

Anyway, what I love about this recipe is that it's healthier than white because it contains a good amount of wheat and it's flexible enough to use for sandwiches. I've experimented using a 10 grain cereal flour that I ground into flour with my vita-mix, spelt flour, and wheat. So far the best mix is using wheat or spelt flour. Here's the recipe:

1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1/4 cup potato flake (you can use potato water in place of flakes, just omit the milk or use 1/2 milk 1/2 potato water)
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

1. In medium sized glass bowl add milk, butter, and honey. Heat in microwave (of course stovetop in a pot would work too) for 1-2 minutes. Wisk until it's all combined and set aside.
2. Add dry ingredients together and mix.
3. I use a stand mixer, but kneading by hand works perfectly fine. Knead until it's soft and pliable (mixer: 5-10 min., hand: 10-15 min.). Add flour as needed.
4. Place dough in greased bowl, spray dough with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let double (1-2 hrs.)

The nice part about this stage is that it can rise longer without ruining the bread. You can also let it slowly rise in the fridge overnight or all day. Just make sure to let it get to room temp. (30 min. or so) before going onto the 2nd rise.

5. Take dough out of bowl and lay the plastic wrap aside for later use. Seperate into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a circle by kneading it and pinching the edges on the bottom.
6. Place each ball on a grease cookie sheet. Flatten the balls slightly and cover with the saved plastic wrap. Let rise slightly (15-30 min.).
7. Brush melted butter on each bun and cover with sesame seeds, onions, or desired topping. Cook 20-30 min. in a 350 degree oven. The texture will be soft so the best way to know if it's done is to place a meat thermomiter in the bread and it's finished if it reads 200 degrees.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there. Today is to celebrate all that you do for your kids and family.

'Ode to the little men in my life that make everyday a grand adventure.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm still here!

I'm still here. I promise that I'm not the type of person to start a blog and never come back to it. My how time flies. I've thought about my what my next post would be for the last three months apparently. It feels like only days, but that's how it goes.

Life is a bit busier than I thought with watching two little munchkins all day everyday. My 18month old is off and on very clingy and independent at the same time. My 3-1/2 yr. old is independent and very very loving to his little brother (a little smothering) that I must keep eyes and ears on each most of the time. It's great fun, but when the boys finally go to sleep I feel the need to do not much of anything. So that's what I do.

I have some great post ideas for this year, such as pancake syrup, soap recipes, herbal recipes, gardening ideas, etc... I'm excited to make the time to share this information. So keep your eyes open for the next post

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to 2011

Welcome to 2011! Happy New Year from TodaysModernHomemaker. Tis the season for resolutions. Some personal resolutions that I'm aspiring to do different or try to do more of is:

- Simplify my house. Clear the clutter, donate and toss things that we haven't used and won't use. Everything needs a home or it doesn't belong. I've been reading some fabulous ideas in "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne to help guide me along my way.
- Along these lines I will get my upstairs cleaned up. It's our out of sight out of mind area, which has turned into a pack rat, unorganized zone that needs some serious attention.
- Learn more homemade recipes, such as chocolate syrup and other things that I would normally buy.
- Tackle the world of sewing. Knitting and crocheting are fun, but with two little munchkins I think learning to sew will offer faster results. My objective is to make cool things for me, but to be able to sew the boys clothes, costumes, and whatever is needed. Gotta start somewhere right?

I hope to life up to these resolutions since they're not to far fetched. No losing weight or other cliche resolutions. Personally it's not my style to do what others are doing. Just realistic personal goals that I've been striving towards for a while. The time has come to get them done.

Check out some other wonderful resolutions on Nourishing Gourmet's Penny Platter Thursday